GPs should not block personal health budgets even if treatments have no evidence

10th January 2013

Pulsetoday reports that the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) recommends that GPs should not block personal health budgets even if patients decide they wish to spend NHS resources on a treatment with no clinical evidence to support it, such as complementary therapies. 

In a new guide to GPs, the RCGP said that where there is evidence a treatment could be harmful it should not be approved, but that treatments that are safe, but lack evidence as to whether they work should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The guide says: 'People may want to use their budgets for treatments where there is no clinical evidence to support their use.  This should not automatically prevent approval, as, despite not being supported by clinical trials, a selected treatment may work for an individual.'

It adds: 'We will need to consider appropriate treatments or services on a case-by-case basis, thinking holistically about the individual and what may or may not work for them.'

The Government confirmed in November that all eligible patients will be given the right to have a personal health budget - and this was confirmed in the coalition's mid-term report published earlier this week.

All patients in England receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare will be eligible for a personal health budget to spend on treatment, with this extended to all those with continuing health needs by 2014.  CCGs will also have the power to offer them more widely to patients who they feel may benefit.

RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada said the College would monitor the personal health budget rollout. 'This new guide is an excellent and easy reference tool for GPs and will help to make sure that personal health budgets are used in the most beneficial way for patients.

'The College previously published a position statement giving the proposals a "cautious amber" carefully exploring the opportunities and risks involved and will continue to closely monitor the development of personal health budgets.'

Source: Pulsetoday 10/01/2013

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